Service delivery, including water supply, ground to a halt in September 2022 in the Ditsobotla local municipality in North West (Lichtenburg and Coligny). Sakeliga, in collaboration with local partners, intervened to bring about drastic acceleration of the strategic municipal litigation already underway and by means of which Sakeliga wants to create legal precedent to be applied all over the country. In this case, where Sakeliga already has obtained a favourable court order in the first leg of the application, the strategy is to escalate intervention in Ditsobotla’s local state decay to the highest level of intervention provided for by the Constitution and to give guidance in creating legal precedent to solve the problem in the long run in a sustainable manner.
Core to the relief that Sakeliga is asking is authorisation for community bodies themselves to conduct emergency interventions and that Sakeliga and our partners may supervise the government’s interventions.
Status: Active; urgent application
Case started: 7 October 2022
Court: High Court, Mahikeng
Next court date:
To be determined by case management.
|24 March 2023
|Attorneys for Sakeliga send a letter to the Judge-President of the High Court and ask for an urgent case management meeting so that the case can urgently get back on track.
|23 March 2023
|Early in the morning on the 23rd of March, Sakeliga’s legal team is confronted with the reality of several other applications that have also been placed before the same court, and which will seize the court for most of the two days allocated for Sakeliga’s cases. Further affidavits by the Minister of Finance and the Ditsobotla Municipality, which were filed at the eleventh hour the night before, make a postponement of the case inevitable.
|7 March 2023
|Following the local municipality’s failure to comply with the order in Part A, Sakeliga obtains a further order in Part A to compel the district municipality to restore the water supply by 17 March 2023 and to report back to court under oath on the same day.
|13 February 2023
|The High Court orders that the September 2022 urgent application must be heard together with Sakeliga’s already pending application for the appointment of a paymaster on 23 and 24 March 2023. This is a special allocation.
|7 March 2023
|Following the local municipality’s failure to comply with the order in Part A, Sakeliga obtains a further order in Part A to compel the district municipality to restore the water supply by 17 March 2023 and to report back to the court on that date.
|18 November 2022
|The case is resumed before the court for the hearing of submissions about the government’s non-compliance with the part A order of 13 October and with a view to an amended part A order which strengthens Sakeliga’s already obtained remedies in part A. Part B of the application must also be heard.
However, the judge declares that he cannot hear the case because the same judge who heard the Part A application should preside over the present matter. The court adjourns.
|10 November 2022
The administrator and provincial government remain in failure to resolve the water crisis as required by the order in Part A of the court case.
Part B of the court application is set down for hearing, but is adjourned to a future date due to the government’s non-compliance with the part A order. The judge adjourns the court so that the government’s respective legal teams can reach consensus among themselves on how the government could explain their non-compliance with the Part A order to the court, and what possible agreement could be made with Sakeliga.
|13 October 2022
|Part A of the court case against the government, which deals with the restoration of water supply, is heard. The court delivers judgment in Part A of the application on the same day. The court orders in Sakeliga’s favor that the administrator must ensure water supply in accordance with the community’s needs. The court also orders that Sakeliga may exercise a supervisory role over the restoration of water services.
|7 October 2022
|Sakeliga launches an urgent court application in the North West Division of the High Court. Sakeliga is assisted by two co-applicants, a public interest organisation and a local businessman.
|30 September 2022
|A meeting takes place between Sakeliga and representatives of the provincial government (North West) and national government. The government offers no undertaking that critical services such as water supply will be restored within the coming days and offers only vague undertakings as to when an administrator will be appointed and municipal workers will return to their jobs.
|23 September 2022
|Sakeliga sends a letter of demand to the North West provincial government, the national government and president and demands an urgent meeting with representatives of the government regarding the humanitarian and constitutional crisis in the Ditsobotla local municipality. Sakeliga also demands, among other things, that mandatory national interventions be carried out under section 139(7) of the Constitution, and an administrator be appointed immediately.
|20 September 2022
|Sakeliga meets with chambers of commerce, businesspeople and others in the affected areas to obtain more details about the matter.